Teams – #2 USC Trojans (1-0) vs. Syracuse Orange (0-1)
Venue – Metlife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)
Time – Saturday September 8th @ 3:30
TV – ABC
The USC Trojans travel to the east coast for the only time all season as they take on Syracuse in the first edition of ‘New York’s College Classic’ at Metlife Stadium. These two teams faced each other last season in the L.A. Coliseum, with Southern Cal prevailing by a score of 38 to 17, behind a five touchdown effort from quarterback Matt Barkley.
This year the Trojans are bowl eligible once again and are legitimate National Championship contenders. They have returned most of their key players from last year’s squad so this game figures to be an even bigger challenge for the Orange. USC hasn’t traveled east of the Mississippi since they opened the season at Virginia to start the 2008 season. Syracuse has to hope that the long travel week will slow down the Trojans a bit (although it didn’t seem to bother them back in 2008, as they crushed Virginia 52-7).
For Syracuse to have a chance in this matchup they need to play a near perfect game, without the turnovers and mental mistakes that cost them against Northwestern last week. Quarterback Ryan Nassib needs to continue his outstanding play and luckily he will have his best receiver, Alec Lemon, back in the starting lineup. The Orange defense needs to pressure Barkley and attempt to throw off his rhythm by putting him on the turf early in the game. In addition, head coach Doug Marrone must make sure that his special teams are rock solid and don’t come back to haunt this team again.
The path to victory seems a lot easier for USC, who comes into the game as the number two team in the country and a far superior team to Syracuse. The Trojans must stick to their basics and let Matt Barkley and his All-American receivers, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, pick apart the Cuse secondary. If they can play anywhere near their potential then USC should win easily and head back west as a 2-0 football team.
Prediction - USC 44 – Syracuse 27, hopefully the ‘home crowd’ at Metlife can get the Syracuse team pumped up but even with their magical new uniforms courtesy of Nike they really have little chance of winning this game. The Trojans are simply too talented and this is just another stop in their quest for a 12th National Championship.